Start your iStock search by typing a keyword into the search bar at the top of any page of our site. A keyword is any word you could use to describe the kind of image you're looking for. You can also use the drop-down menu on the right side of the search bar to specify the file type you're looking for.
On the left side of the search results page there is a search box where you can add new keywords to narrow down your search. The more keywords you add the more specific your results will be. All of your entered search terms will appear at the top of the left-hand column. If you'd like to remove a keyword, simply click next to it.
Your search can also be refined using the following:
If you'd like to limit your results to just photos, illustrations, video, audio or Flash, check the box that corresponds with the file type.
Above your search results is a drop-down menu called “Sort by”. By clicking on it you can re-order your results by:
You can use the “Files per page” drop-down, located above your search results, to increase or decrease the number of results you see on each page from 20 to 200.
Our database of keywords uses a controlled vocabulary. Since many words have different meanings you may sometimes be asked to clarify ambiguous search terms (e.g., “orange” the color versus “orange” the fruit). Keywords that have multiple meanings are marked with . If you click on the icon, you can choose your intended meaning from the options available.
If there's a particular iStock artist you're fond of you can get to their entire portfolio directly from the main search box. Simply type the first few letters of their iStock membername and you'll see a list of potential matches that include contributors.
By default your search results will be generated from all of our collections. If you'd like to limit your search to content from our Vetta Collection, select it from the “Collections” area on the left-hand side of the page. If you're searching for audio, you can choose to restrict your results to tracks in the Pump Audio library.
By default your search results will contain files from every price range. If you'd like to narrow your results by price, you can select your preferred price range by adjusting the "Price Range" section on the left-hand side of the page.
This "Price Range" filter is a slider that lets you either select a specific price level or set a range of price levels that you'd like to search within.
In addition to our standard Creative imagery, iStock also offers images under an Editorial Use Only license. Files for Editorial Use Only cannot be used for any commercial purposes. If you'd like to limit your search to strictly Creative or Editorial content, select those options from the “License Type” area on the left-hand side of the page.
If you're looking for an image of a specific size, shape or color scheme, use the “Photo & Illustration Filters” located on the left-hand side of the search results page. The available filters are:
At the bottom of the search results page is a drop-down called “Display Settings.” Here you can choose what information is displayed on the search results page. Options include image titles, contributor name, number of downloads and file number. You can also enable or disable the loupe feature, which displays a larger version of any image you hover over with your mouse.
On the left-hand side of the search results page there is a section called “More attributes”. Here you can refine your results based on:
The entire iStock library is divided into categories. These are common themes that group files and include things like Animals, Business and Lifestyle. You can filter your results by clicking on the category you want near the bottom, left-hand side of the search results page. Some offer sub-categories to help you narrow your results further.
When searching for audio, you can refine your results in the “Audio Filters” section on the left-hand side of the page. Here you can specify the category, or level of complexity (Basic, Moderate, Detailed, Complex or Elaborate), depending on whether you want lyrical or instrumental audio, the key and/or time signature.
When searching for video, you can refine your results in the “Video filters” section on the left-hand side of the page. Here you can specify the aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9), file type (PAL, DV or NTSC for 4:3 videos) or HD resolution (720 or 1080).
If you know the file number of the image, video or audio clip you'd like to purchase, you can enter it into the search box and be taken directly to the close-up page for that file.
If your search has yielded zero results, it most likely means you're being too specific (or you're searching for something really unusual). Try removing keywords from your search, or changing some of your refinements to generate more matches.
You can search the contents of a lightbox by using the search box on the left-hand side of the page within that lightbox. To search public lightboxes, go to your lightbox page and use the “Search Public Lightboxes” field near the top, right side of the page.